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    Public or private lighting?

    Q. Which is better – to kindle the Chanukah lights publicly or privately?

    large menorah in publicA. Both are important.

    There is a custom of kindling the lights at the doorway, which makes it both a public event for the street and a private event for the family.

    Since the purpose of kindling the menorah is pirsum ha-nes, publicising the miracle, this ideal is fulfilled in two ways at once.

    For the public, it expresses freedom to believe (or not to believe, since freedom of both religion and irreligion are both axiomatic).

    For the family, it marks the priority of family and home as the center of Jewish living.

    Public kindling of the chanukiyyah has become popular in recent years due to Chabad-Lubavitch. These ceremonies generally take place in city locations and attract large crowds of Jews and non-Jews, with public figures in attendance.

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